This time of year, the leaves remaining on the trees have usually turned colors already. This shot is from all the way back in July, but catches the maples of Volunteer Park in full red glory. Yeah – Aerochrome EIR will do that.
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This one was also shot with my Rollei, using the same Aerochrome EIR as the other shot here.
You used to be able to buy color infrared film. Kodak produced a line in sizes from 35mm to large sheets – I think the original purpose was for some sort of agricultural surveying. Living things reflect infrared light differently. This is color infrared film – specifically, Kodak Aerochrome EIR.
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When the film is fresh and you do it right, the results can be amazing. Trees and gress in full sun are rendered red or orange. Human skin is pale, almost white, and sometimes you can see blood in the veins beneath. Unfortunately, you just can’t get it anymore. Well… mostly.
Kodak stopped producing the 35mm version around 2002 or so. They stopped producing the 120 version around 2006, and I believe they stopped producing the large roll format in 2011. Some enterprising folks stockpiled massive amounts of it. Even at 12 shots per roll using my Rollei, like above, those rolls still cost $25 each (from here, which has since sold out). Not only that but you have to load and process them in complete darkness in a processor that doesn’t use an infrared counter. Even in photo-happy Seattle, there is nowhere I can get these things processed anymore, so I had to ship it to Portland (which to its credit, boasts at least two places that can do this for you).
At the end of the day, it’s a great lesson in what happens if you even semi-successfully stack together a bunch of old technologies. Medium-format, color infrared, TLR – they’re all there. I’ve got two rolls left and they stay in my freezer, waiting for something momentous enough to justify thawing them out.